What Is Jesus Worth To You?

“Unto you who believe He is precious”
1 Peter 2:7

A friend of mine was in a shopping plaza some years ago and saw a group of young people singing Gospel hymns.

As a Christian he stopped to enjoy the biblical truths these attractive and engaging young people sang. Among the pieces they sang there was one hymn that was especially moving.

The words to the first verse go as follows:

I’d rather have Jesus than silver or gold;
I’d rather be His than have riches untold;
I’d rather have Jesus than houses or lands;
I’d rather be led by His nail-pierced hand

Refrain:
Than to be the king of a vast domain
And be held in sin’s dread sway;
I’d rather have Jesus than anything
This world affords today.

As these young people sang my friend noticed one young lady was in a wheel chair. From her way of trying to sing this hymn it seemed obvious that she suffered from cerebral palsy.

She could not sing after the fashion of her friends but she wanted everyone who saw her to know that having Jesus was more precious to her than having a fully functioning body like her friends or being wealthy, or being famous, or anything else the world could offer.

She had made the amazing discovery of how truly precious Jesus actually is. That He was vastly more than someone to call on stage when life gets rough and to dismiss until the next crisis came along. She found Jesus to be precious as our verse states concerning those who truly believe in Him.

My friend wept as he saw her struggling to sing and realized that she had a much more personal relationship with Jesus that did he. She ministered to him in a more profound manner that morning that any sermon had up to that point in his life. How easy to say Jesus is precious when all is well. How amazing to say He is precious when life falls apart.

Do you see Jesus as precious today? Have you read about this remarkable Saviour in the Gospel accounts in the Bible?

I suggest you read the Gospel of Luke first. Luke portrays Jesus as especially seeking to help people in pain. You may find your own life problems reflected in one of the stories there.

Then read the Gospel of John to discover that Jesus existed from eternity. You will learn that He is God in human form and you will be spellbound by the many ways He demonstrates His power to help people with problems.

You owe it to yourself to get acquainted with this Jesus who is so precious. If you want a Bible we would be glad to send one to you post paid just for the asking.

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Payday Someday

“Do not say, ‘I’ll pay you back for this wrong!’
Wait for the Lord, and he will deliver you.”
Proverbs 20:22

Robert GLee was pastor of Bellevue Baptist Church in Memphis, Tennessee from December, 1927 until April 10, 1960. He preached a famous sermon—Payday Someday—over 1,000 times. The main point of the sermon was that God does call people to account for their actions someday.

I well recall hearing him preach the sermon in Sarnia in the 1960’s. It was spellbinding to hear him even though he had already preached it several hundred times by then.

Some of my readers may be people who have had a very painful disservice done to them—a trust has been broken; your reputation has been shredded by lies; your good intentions have been twisted into something you never meant; you have been misquoted deliberately. On it goes the ways in which people can deliberately hurt us.

We are tempted to plan our revenge upon the evil ones who did this mischief. Just to think about how we might retaliate brings some degree of pleasure. If we are truly followers of Jesus, we know in advance that the luxury of “getting even” is too expensive for us to afford. We are called on to leave the matter with the Lord and He will repay the evil doers.

When we have submitted or “resigned” ourselves to the will of God and simply let the matter go we can easily become bitter and have hate fill our hearts. It is important that we never let anyone so control us that they cause us to “hate” them. Do not let anyone take charge of your emotions other than yourself.

The really terrifying thing is that God will pay back everyone who does evil in this world. We must see that God is just and sin will be punished regardless of who causes the sin to occur. God’s hand of justice is even—He does not have favourites whose sin He ignores. Every sin that is committed in every generation will be punished.

This equity of punishment can alarm us as we realize that we, too, have sinned. Certainly those who sin against us will be called to account some day but we too shall be called to account for our own sins whatever they are. Only if we solicit Jesus to be our Advocate can we escape the just judgment of God. It is a matter that either we shall bear the eternal punishment for our sins or else Jesus has.

Have you been able to get past the hurt of being sinned against to where you can see that you too in other ways have fallen short of God’s requirements? Can you let go of the idea of seeking revenge for wrong doing against you and see that you have done wrong against God and stand in need of forgiveness?

When you come to this place of revelation from God, turn to Him with all your heart and pray for forgiveness for your own sins and then pray for your enemies as Jesus did that they too may be forgiven.

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To Know Or Be Known, That Is The Question

“For the Lord knows the way of the righteous;
but the way of the ungodly shall perish.”
Psalm 1:6

Because I have traveled a lot, I know many people and I know people in many countries. I love meeting new people and exploring their life styles and personal beliefs. Cultures are wonderful things to study. How people entertain guests in their home, how they spend leisure time, what are their religious beliefs, and so on—these facts intrigue me greatly.

It is interesting how much you can know about a person and yet you do not really know them. For example, some people who attend church appear to be so upright, model Christians. Then you learn what happens in their home behind closed doors and you realise you never knew them.

So there are different ways to know people. Some you know by name, where they live, their occupation, who they are married to—and therefore you can say you “know” them. However, that kind of knowledge is certainly superficial.

As you reflect on our verse for today you can see that it divides easily into two parts. First the part about the “righteous” and secondly the part about the “ungodly”.  This means that the two statements describe opposite conditions.

What you see is that the way of the ungodly will perish in the end. However, the opposite is true of the righteous. Their way does not perish and it is because God “knows” their way. The verb “to know”, in the mind of a Hebrew person, meant to be actively involved with the one who is “known”. So the “righteous” person is one who has the Lord ministering to them in many ways.

In the preceding verses of this Psalm we read of the “righteous” person being absorbed in the Word of God, the Bible. They hear God’s voice in Scripture and are guided by its advice. In Psalm 119:130 we read, 

“The entrance of Your word gives light.”

So the Bible is a flashlight to illuminate the dark path of life.

R. G. Le Tourneau was the inventive genius who worked in the earthmoving industry and held almost 300 patents. He was recognized worldwide at the most innovative and brilliant man in his field. He was also an evangelical Christian who lived his life according to the teaching of Scripture. God “knew” him.

Marion E. Wade was the founder and guiding business genius of Servicemaster and in writing his story he repeatedly said that it was the Lord who guided his firm. He sought the counsel of the Lord in the Bible as he grew his company into the industry leader in various countries. Christian principles of honesty and hard work were his motto. He entitled his book, The Lord is my counsel: A businessman’s personal experiences with the Bible. God “knew” him.

Does God know you? Is He guiding your life and giving you grace to endure the hardships you experience along the way? Perhaps you need to submit yourself to the direction and help of your Creator today in order that you will have what it takes to continue. Invite God into your life to take charge of all of it. You will never regret it if you do. You will live to regret it if you do not.

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The Deceitfulness Of Sin

“Sin, when it is full grown,
gives birth to death.”
James 1:15 (NIV)

It is rather difficult to talk to young people—who are inexperienced with sin—that it is ugly and not beautiful. If you suggest that going on a drunk is a waste of time to a freshman in university he/she will turn their back on you. But speak to an alcoholic who has ruined their life with drink and you will discover a very different attitude expressed.

Find someone cheating on their marriage partner and you will see a person having a fantastic time. Visit them later in life and they will confess their actions were cruel and thoughtless regarding their spouse and children.

Sin is remarkably alluring to anyone who seeks it for themselves. The tragedy is that committing sin is like starting to do drugs. There is a rush and euphoria for a time but soon the constant use of the drug will waste your body and destroy your life. Ultimately it is the same with sin.

A Bible scholar of the past once pointed out that Jesus denounced three categories of sin in particular—the sin of the publican (which was sensuality), the sin of the Sadducee (which was pride), and the sin of the Pharisee (which was hypocrisy).

Jesus reserved His most vigorous denunciations for the sin of hypocrisy.

Jesus certainly spoke of other sins such as covetousness when he called the man a fool who built up a fortune in assets and ignored God (Luke 12:16-21). He also referred top the deceitfulness of riches in Matthew 13:22 and Mark 4:19.

Jesus wants a people who will serve Him from the heart and not simply their lips.

One time He said of His generation (Matthew 15:8 NIV),

“These people honor me with their lips, 
but their hearts are far from me.
They worship me in vain”   

It is only when our hearts match our speech that we worship acceptably.

We need to examine ourselves to see if we have an open or secret longing for the beauties and promises of sin.

Sin, as a seed promises all kinds of fruit. But when it is full grown it is the angel of eternal death. Sin is remarkably deceptive in its first approach to anyone and we should be very alarmed by its efforts to entice us into its trap.

Alternately, the idea of living a life which is pleasing to God can be unattractive initially. The thought of self-denial for the sake of Jesus makes many people indifferent to Him. We are taught in our selfish society to put ourselves first and all else second.

In the movie Chariots of Fire there is a scene where some officials of the British team are trying to persuade Eric Little to run on the Sabbath. Little’s conscience would not allow him to put his country ahead of his allegiance to God. One of the officials grumbled that in his day it was “King and country first”. Apparently he was not impressed by Eric Little’s placing of God ahead of his country.

Anything we place above God is an act of sin. God will have first place or no place in our lives. Look at your own life and consider whether the Creator is with you or not. What do you find attractive? Is it possible you are deceived?

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A Visit By An Angel

“An angel from heaven appeared to him
and strengthened him.”
Luke 22:43 (NIV)

When we consider the intensity of the scene this text refers to we can well see the necessity for this activity to occur. Jesus was struggling with the coming horror of becoming sin for His people.

The thought of sin being laid on Him caused Him to be repulsed. So Jesus was praying and seeking help and the angel came and gave Him what He needed to continue on the path chosen by the Father.

This is the second time that Jesus has an angelic visitation. In Matthew 4:11 at the beginning of our Lord’s ministry, right after the temptations, we read that angels came and were ministering to Him. The champions of light and darkness wrestled for the hearts of people. By winning the victory Jesus was exhausted.

In 1 Kings 9:4-8 it is told that an angel came to depressed Elijah the prophet and ministered to him by way of food in order to prepare him for a long journey. In Daniel 3:25-28 we read of an angel coming to the three Hebrew men who were being executed by the king. The angel preserved the men alive and the king acknowledged the presence of God with the Hebrew men.

In Luke 16:22 we read that when the beggar Lazarus died angels came to him as he died and “carried” him into God’s eternal presence. Angels have a responsibility to people who die in Jesus. No Christian dies alone. Angels appear to strengthen and provide for them at such a significant moment.

We read the promise in Psalm 91:11,

“For he will command his angels concerning you 
to guard you in all your ways.” (NIV).

So as we read the Scriptures we see that there are a number of functions for angels with regard to the people of God.

If we are followers of Jesus we should believe that when we pray and ask for strength, angels will come and give us what we need for the day just as Jesus experienced in Gethsemane.

When Satan tempts us to evil we may be assured that angels will again come and help us resist what is wrong. We shall be protected from any evil forces that would lead us astray. And, ultimately, when we come to the end of our journey and prepare to enter the Lord’s presence, angels are there also in order to equip us for our journey.

It is remarkable to consider that angels are so busy assisting the people of God. We need to ask ourselves if we have experienced the blessing of a visit by an angel when praying or going through a difficult situation.

Have you suddenly discovered strength to continue going against the current of this life? Have you sensed you really can resist that sinful temptation? Are you finding the way easier when you look to the Lord for help?

If you cannot respond positively to these questions pray to the Lord for mercy and grace to help you in your times of need. God delights to draw alongside those who suffer. Come and experience His grace today.

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